Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Empathy and Race Relations

I am deeply saddened by the complete lack of empathy, dialogue, and understanding that has risen up during discussions of race.  One cannot have a respectful dialogue if one fails to understand where the other is coming from.  More so, I am completely dumbfounded by any Christian who posts or shares on their feed anything that resorts to vulgar name calling or refers to protesters as haters of America.  (I teach responsible social media use to teens.  Perhaps adults need it too).   There is no desire to love one another or for reconciliation in such language.  As followers of Christ, we are called to care about people.

There is a flag and there is a national anthem.   Please, be passionate about our country.  However, to be more passionate about an issue (kneeling/national anthem/patriotism) than an individual (or collective group, in this instance) who experiences injustice misses the entire point.   I found the following quote (next paragraph) helpful in clarifying why the flag/anthem is attached to the protesting.  You may disagree and believe an alternative form of protesting would be better suited, but the point of a protest is to elicit an emotional response so that people care about something that is otherwise being neglected.  So we must ask ourselves if we care more about how they are protesting OR do we care more about resolving the issue behind the protest?  Changing how the protest occurs does not solve the problem of racial injustice.  We must understand that solving that problem will create change and eliminate the need for a protest.

"one of the false binaries that the President has been trying to set up for this reason is to make you choose between love of flag and country AND love of the country getting better.  This is ironic for a guy who ran on a message of 'make America great again,' of course, itself a critique of the country.  What people need to realize is that we are all trying to celebrate and make this country a better place.  It's just the fact that the degree to which we can enjoy those freedoms have been unequal.  So, we need to involve the flag to get attention for that issue.  That's why it's so important."
  Pablo Torre  9/25/17  “Around the Horn” on ESPN

I hope that quote is helpful in understanding why the protests have occurred during the national anthem.  You are free to disagree with that approach, but it is important that we understand why that approach is being taken.  And one could also say it is important for protesters to understand that others see their protests in a different light.  There are complex layers here.  That is why dialogue is needed.  Personally, I believe if someone feels marginalized then it is the responsibility of the community to hear them out and help the situation.  And there are many marginalized people in America who do not always have a voice (children, elderly, poor, women, etc.) that is heard.

I have found these links to be helpful. I will say that I do not agree with everything that is in each of these links.  However, reading thoughts that you disagree with helps you gain understanding and empathy for others.  I must take this issue seriously as a follower of Christ as well as a future father of a child who will not be white (whenever our adoption in the Dominican Republic is processed).  TAKE TIME TO READ.

(I have intentionally left the URL's visible for those who prefer it).
Feel free to share articles that you have found helpful.

Confessions of a Racist by Philip Yancey

Skin in the Game – with Andy Stanley.  (Everyone loves him)

Tony Duny interview with Miami Dolphins players impacting race relations in their community

"Woke Church" by Dr. Eric Mason 

Analyzing Survey results Regarding Protests, Race, and Patriotism

Free Speech – Christianity Today by Ed Stetzer.  (Everyone loves Christianity Today)

Helpful History of Minority Demonstrations (Response to above article)

There's No Dishonor in Kneeling (Kaepernick) (Third Response to Free Speech article)

An attempt to explain white privilege with personal examples

Brain research on Race and Empathy – California Association for Bilingual Education

Racial Justice Videos by Verge Network

A deep look into Colin Kaepernick by Bleacher Report

Racism – I’m sorry it took so long – by a college classmate of mine

Why it’s so hard to talk to white people about racism by Prof. and Dr. Robin DiAngelo

One WWII vets focus

Understanding the first MLB player who took a knee

Racism - How Christians Should Respond (3 week study for small groups)

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